Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Oct 15, Part 9 - A trip on the Paris Metro from Chatelet to St-Denis

When we left Cafe Zimmer, we were on our way to see the cathedral at St. Denis. This would entail a fairly long metro ride, which we thought would be a good activity for the (already mentioned) drizzly gray day. The picture above is the entrance at Chatelet station.

This set of pictures shows some of the variety you see while riding the metro. Having always lived in places where the public transportation was non-existent to terrible, and where nothing went down, only sprawled outward, I've always found Metros and Undergrounds fascinating. On this trip, I noticed that some of the stations had been modernized. The metro itself is so old, it's interesting to see the contrast. And as someone pointed out, the metro is so important to the city of Paris, that they invest tons of money each year for improvements. It's a wonderful and efficient way to get from one place to another. For any number of reasons, I've always liked the Metro.

There's stuff to see - not that I like the color combination on this piece of art, because I just don't, but I'm glad there is SOME kind of art.

We entered a Chatelet, one of the largest Metro stations. You just follow the signs, which are usually pretty good and occasionally confusing. In some stations you can go miles (it seems) before reaching your train. It's part of the charm, I think. Here comes a little girl in pink, making a game of getting ahead of her parent.

Gates and more gates. It's always good to keep your ticket until you see the light of day (or night) and are absolutely sure you don't need it again. Sometimes it can be a challenge to know if and when a ticket is needed. I like the machines here where you pop the ticket in one side and it zips through and you pick it up again on the other side of the turnstile. But don't throw it away yet! You might need it again. There have been times when we had to climb over for one reason or another!

It's kind of surreal down here. It's one of the newer platforms. I'd never seen one quite like it.

The train is very quiet and smooth on rubber tires. It glides into the station, the doors open, and you get in. You don't have to figure out if it's the right train - you were supposed to have done that on the way to the correct platform.

We've gotten on at the Chatelet station, 4th from the left. Our first goal is Saint Lazare train station, far left, where we'll change to another Metro line.

That's Lee standing up holding onto the bars.

There were some seats on this train, but sometimes standing is fun, too.

Here we are at Gare Saint-Lazare. Another maze to find our way through.

More art in the Metro. Probably this one would not have been permitted in Astoria, but I don't know any more. When you get past the obvious subject matter, check out the cool green wave-pattern tiles above the picture. A lot of the stations have built-in tile frames for the posters and ads.

One thing I love about the Metro is people-watching. I just missed the best shot of this lady in African garb. She was completely decked out. It was a wonderful sight. Very exotic.

It's no big surprise that there's standing room only leaving St-Lazare station, since it's one of the largest junctions in Paris.

Metro and city maps are everywhere. Someone is getting on or off the train.

Here's our route. We got on at St-Lazare, which is the big one to the right of the convergence. The lighted line shows where we are. In this case, maybe we did have to catch the correct train once on the platform. I think there are a few places where you have to do that.

St-Ouen is one of the older stops, it appears. They do a pretty good job of keeping graffiti out of most of the stations, but unfortunately, there's still vandalism. Here you can see the green tiles around the maps, in a different design than the last ones. I thought it would be interesting to link to Porte de Saint-Ouen above ground, but I didn't find such a photo. It seems the main attractions here are the "World's Biggest Flea Market." The other Saint-Ouen is a cathedral, but that's in Rouen, not in Paris.

End of the trip. The crowd has thinned out, and feet wait patiently or impatiently to step onto the platform when the doors open.

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